Highlights of 5/14 Lincoln Board of Education Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.  The Board will hold its annual organizational meeting on May 20, 2019, and its next regular meeting on May 28, 2019.

Evaluation, compensation for Superintendent of Schools approved

The Lincoln Board of Education annually evaluates and reviews the contract of the Superintendent of Schools, and Tuesday the Board presented the evaluation summary for the superintendent and approved a salary for the 2019-20 year of $329,539.  That amount represents a salary increase of 1.35 percent – and a total salary package increase of 1.53 percent.

The Board’s evaluation summary for Joel included these highlights:

  • The 2018-19 school year was once again a year of significant accomplishments under the superintendent’s leadership. This past year was filled with productive data and information gathering that will enable LPS to move forward in completing the Strategic Plan.
  • "Dr. Joel helps guide the work of the Board, offering invaluable advice and guidance, based on his extensive experience."
  • “The Board is fortunate to have a superintendent who believes in a cooperative team atmosphere, not just with his employees, but with the Board as well. He has not only been a partner to the Board but also a teacher to many of us."
  • Board members said the superintendent provides a positive image of our school district and is seen as a leader throughout the state – spending countless hours serving on community boards, meeting with community groups and visiting schools to gain a better understanding of the pulse of our community.
  • "Dr. Joel is a highly respected leader in our community and throughout the state. Dr. Joel’s community outreach has built strong relationships with key city players. Dr. Joel is a leader in our community and a person that community members seek out for his leadership and opinions."
  • Board members said the superintendent recruits and develops high-achieving staff, and has also hired an executive team that is the envy of other school districts.
  • "Dr. Joel hires, evaluates and mentors a highly qualified staff. He recognizes the work of his immediate staff as well as applauding the work of all those within the LPS system."
  • Board members felt that all leadership goals were met according to the specific job target – specifically establishing a Superintendent’s Facility Advisory Committee, asking staff to provide an evaluation of the existing focus programs, exploring options for alternative instructional delivery methods and instructing staff to give an update of the implementation of the 21st century Human Resources and business systems.
  • Board members expressed a high level of confidence in the superintendent’s abilities, a deep appreciation for his commitment to continuous improvement, and well-deserved recognition of his sincere motivation to do what is best for all 42,000 LPS students and 6,000 staff.

Board approves contracts, salaries for superintendent’s exec team

The Board of Education Tuesday also approved two-year contracts for each of the three associate superintendents and the assistant superintendent, with a total salary increase of 2.06 percent – an overall total package increase of 2.26 percent – for 2019-20.

Included in the total package increase for each of the three associate superintendents and the assistant superintendent are additional district costs including the district’s contributions to health insurance, state retirement and Social Security.

Annual salary approvals:  

  • Matt Larson, associate superintendent for Instruction: $209,400
  • Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs: $219,259
  • Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Human Resources: $219,259
  • John Neal, assistant superintendent for General Administration and Governmental Relations: $214,925

Indian Education Program

The Board approved submission of the required application of the Indian Education grant to the U.S. Department of Education for $139,941.  The LPS Indian Education program will provide support to Native American students in grades PK-12 in the 2019-20 school year. Native American students are enrolled in all schools across the district representing about 60 tribes as designated by the parent. Decisions regarding the use of these funds are made in consultation with the Native American Advisory Committee.  

The U.S. Department of Education through Title VI of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides funds to fulfill the federal government’s responsibility to the Indian people for the education of Indian children. These funds support the goal of ensuring programs that serve Indian children are of the highest quality and provide for not only the basic elementary and secondary educational needs but also the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of these children.

Kloefkorn roofing repair

The Board said yes to a bid of just over $1 million from Sprague Roofing Co., of Lincoln, to conduct roof repair at Kloefkorn Elementary School.  The damage was the result of a hail storm and is covered fully by insurance.

Wheelchair School Buses

The Board agreed to purchase seven wheelchair school buses with three-point safety belts for use by the Transportation Department – at a total expenditure of $798,646.  The purchase includes six wheelchair school buses – at a cost of $116,620 per bus from Cornhusker International Trucking – as well as one gasoline bus at a cost of $98,926 from Nebraska Central Equipment.

Transportation plan

Lincoln Public Schools transported 3,680 students over 1.25 million miles in the 2017-18 school year – and each spring, an updated transportation plan is prepared for the coming school year.  In addition, each year a review of all routes for the current year are reconsidered.

Here are proposed changes in additional LPS bus runs and routes – at a net budget increase of $658,220 – for the 2019-20 school year:

  • Mid-day runs to Don Sherrill and Yankee Hill education centers, and The Career Academy.
  • Additional runs to Kooser Elementary School.
  • Additional routes to Kloefkorn and Beattie elementary schools.
  • New VOICE site at Pemberly.
  • Special education runs to Roper and Maxey elementary schools, Goodrich and Moore middle schools and Lincoln East High School.
  • English Language Learner (ELL) routes to Everett Elementary School and Park Middle School.
  • Early Childhood for Belmont Elementary School.
  • Early Childhood and ELL for Zeman Elementary School.
  • Special education and ELL at Culler Middle School.

A reminder: The LPS Transportation Department will transport only those students who qualify under provisions of state law, including:

  1. Elementary and middle school students residing more than four (4) miles from the school in the attendance area within which they reside.
  2. Special Education students whose individual education plan (IEP) require transportation as essential to learning.
  3. Students who have been moved for the benefit of the district to relieve overcrowding, due to major facility renovations, efficiency in use of buildings and/or staff.

In addition, the Board, at its discretion, may approve other transportation areas based upon unique circumstances and for the purpose of equalizing school enrollments and facilitating programs.

The Board will take a final vote at the May 28 Board meeting.

Policy proposed changes

The Board heard recommended policy changes for community relations/media relations, employee fundraising and student fees. The Board will take a final vote at the May 28 Board meeting. The Board waived the required two readings for policy changes addressing Board operating procedures/committees, and voted to approve those changes so they would be in place for the annual organizational meeting on May 20.

Food purchases

The Board heard proposed purchases of several major food items for the coming school year:

  • $122,305 in fresh bakery products.
  • $837,627 in fresh milk products.
  • $2,980,630 in shelf-stable, refrigerated and frozen foods.

The Board waived the required two readings and voted to approve the purchases so staff could start the ordering process.

Staff celebration

The Board recognized the Lincoln East High School Music Department, which was awarded the Exemplary Program Award by the Nebraska Music Education Association.

To view the entire Board meeting

Go to: Livestream.com/lpsorg

Special reports to the board

LPS BackPack Project Extra Mile Walk update

Kim Schmidt and Jess Jefferson, co-chairs of the LPS BackPack Project Extra Mile Walk committee, and FoodBank of Lincoln director Scott Young updated the Board on this year’s event. They also recognized the top three school fundraisers: Maxey Elementary School, Culler Middle School, and Southeast High School. This year the walk raised approximately $184,000 to add to the $1.9 million raised in the last 12 years.

In April, 6,728 backpacks were distributed to 1,682 children in Lincoln; 3,223 students were served at food markets; 148 families were served at LPS emergency pantries; and 81 student-parent vouchers were given at the high school pantries.

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools

Wendy Van, Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools president, updated the board on the year’s projects which included:

  • Provided emergency assistance for families.
  • Sponsored camp extended learning experiences.
  • Help launch the district-wide mariachi ensemble.
  • Assisted in funding Project Lead the Way at Dawes Middle School and Northeast High School.
  • Helped send the Slam Poetry team at Lincoln High School to competition.
  • Expanded learning opportunities for TCA students.
  • Purchased books for Family Literacy.

Published: May 14, 2019, Updated: May 14, 2019